Kool Derby

You receive advice from many different people. In some cases, others offer guidance even when you don’t ask for it. When you seek advice, it’s important that you identify the right person to help you. Remember that you’re asking for advice, not sympathy.

Engine Tech, an IT company, recently hired Martin, and he was having a tough time making the adjustment. For more than a decade, he worked for AT&T, a traditional-type organization, which had a silo, bureaucratic structure. Engine Tech was at the other end of the spectrum, promoting a Google-like work environment in which employees wore clothes more suitable for a day at the beach.

Martin accepted the position as IT Manager, which was similar to the post he had held at AT&T. The laid-back environment at Engine Tech was refreshing at first, but Martin was missing the structured approach he had at AT&T. He needed someone to help him determine whether he should give Engine Tech more time, or if he should contact his AT&T manager for the opportunity to return to his previous position.

Martin called Lawrence, a long-time friend. Lawrence was a State Farm agent, but he had worked in industry for nearly 20 years. Martin knew he could count on Lawrence to provide candid feedback.

Martin: Hey, Lawrence. Thank you for joining me for coffee this morning.

Lawrence: No problem, my friend. What’s up?

Martin: You see, I don’t know if I made the right decision by taking the position at Engine Tech. I like the people, but it might not be the right place for me.

Lawrence: What do you mean?

Martin: There is very little structure. For example, we have plans and projects, but no one is accountable. At AT&T, everyone had clear goals, and they had to get the work done. When they didn’t come through it was obvious, and their performance ratings were affected.

Lawrence: I hear Engine Tech is doing very well. I read in the Business Journal that they plan to hire another 1,000 people by the end of this year. They must be doing something right.

Martin: Yeah, they’re agile. In other words, as a technology company, it has to be nimble. The leadership team is committed to maximizing its presence in cloud computing, and it has a growing customer base. I guess you can say Engine Tech is riding the technology wave, and its strong reputation in the industry makes a positive difference.

Lawrence: Is your performance okay?

Martin: That’s hard to say. I’m not even sure how we’re tracking progress. I do my work, go to the meetings, and play the “Glad to be part of the team” game, and that keeps the higher-ups thinking that all is fine.

Lawrence: It sounds to me like you have a disconnect with this type of organizational culture. I had the same situation at Alliance International. The company was terrific, and the people were great, but I realized that I needed to make a change. In other words, I was the component that didn’t fit the environment.

Martin: That’s when you decided to become a Start Farm agent, right?

Lawrence: Right. My only regret was that I waited too long to make the decision. I should have made the move earlier. Based on my situation, I recommend you make the decision quicker. I think your heart is already telling you what is right for you.

Martin: Yeah. You’re right. I have better idea of what I need to do. Thank you, Lawrence.

Some decisions are difficult to make because of the unknown. However, advice from a reputable source can provide the right information to help one make the smart move.